Pilgrims' Progress, Meseta Central - 22.05.2011 'Wine for breakfast and exploding bags'

We have arrived at an old watermill on the Meseta Central, the vast upland plain near Burgos. After two nights in Burgos, where our room was opposite a night club, there could not be a greater contrast. We are overlooking fields of grain and are surrounded by hens, geese, ducks and dogs. There is also a man on a horse.

Since our last bulletin Judith has filled her cup with wine from the fountain at Irache monastery at 7.00 in the morning! We have heard John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ in a cafe as we waited for a Templar church to open. We have walked through numerous hill villages and olive groves to arrive at Viana. This was a special experience. The only place to stay was the albergue, where iron bunk beds were stacked in threes and around 27 people were crammed into a small space. Judith, who is a hardy individual, toughed it out. Philipa, who has a strong sense of self-preservation, sought refuge on the street and was rescued by one of the scary locals. All was redeemed at 6.30 in the morning, as we prepared to shake the dust from off our feet, by the breathtaking surprise of a wonderful choir singing the dawn chorus for May, with marvellous harmonies.

We have prayed for everyone at home on Sunday mornings and at various times during the week. We continue to meet all kinds of interesting people who are having different experiences of the Camino.

Sometimes the religious monuments seem to be discordant with the reality of peoples’ lives. Just why a live hen and cockerel are kept in a cage in the church of Santo Domingo de la Calzada we have not space to explain just now, but suffice to say Philipa plotted their liberation. This was frustrated, as have been all her attempts to acquire a donkey.

Philipa has accumulated a range of interesting gizmos, one of which caused a minor explosion in a carrier bag. Judith is rapidly developing an obsessive interest in storks and she shrieks with delight every time she sees one on a tower, or roof ... or anywhere really.

Our last night in Burgos was spent in San Juan de Ortega - St. John of the Nettles. This venue provoked many jokes about whodunnits in Midsomer.

So far we have walked 196 miles in good humour (apart from that night in the dreaded hostel in Viana), lively and reflective chatter and grand companionship.

While Philipa and Judith are making their pilgrimage they will be sending news bulletins. You will be able to read these here on the parish website in the ‘News’ section – printed copies will also be available in the churches. You can track their route
here

Photos are being posted to the Photo Gallery, Pilgrims' Progress.